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I have demonstrated the advantage of the phase locked oscillator (PLO) over the conventional direct resonance oscillator (DRO) in noncontact mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) under ultrahigh vacuum. Direct comparison between PLO and DRO has been made in terms of background noise level, temporal response, and stability. Compared to the DRO method without phase coherence, the experimental results show that the PLO method is more effective in reducing the noise level and enhancing the stability over all force regimes in UHV noncontact AFM. The noise reduction and stability enhancement in PLO indicate the important role of the phase coherent effect in improving the capability of noncontact imaging in UHV.

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This document was originally published by the American Institute of Physics in Review of Scientific Instruments. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1063/1.1806998

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